It’s the medical facility that saves the environment as it saves lives – the UAE’s first green hospital was launched in Dubai yesterday.
Not only does the MedHealth Medical Centre, located in Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), feature a paperless system where patient records are maintained electronically, it is housed in a building designed to be energy and water efficient.
Among its features are a solar-powered hot water system capable of producing 1,000 litres per day, and a system that collects condensation from air conditioners and uses it for irrigation.
Designers say the hospital is 50 per cent more efficient than buildings of a similar size and features extensive insulation to prevent heat gain, as well as maximising the use of natural daylight.
The facility’s green credentials are further boosted by its method of construction – nearly 30 per cent of the materials used were locally-produced while 14 per cent featured recycled content.
Care was taken to select materials and paints that do not contain high amounts of volatile organic compounds – a wide range of chemicals some of which are suspected of being carcinogenic.
The new building has been awarded a gold certification under the international Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (Leed) scheme. The system evaluates the performance of buildings on energy and water savings, the use of sustainable materials and other criteria.
Gold is the second highest rating under the system – ahead of the Certified and Silver categories but behind Platinum.
While the free zone requires new buildings to meet certain sustainability requirements, the decision to pursue Leed Gold was “partly a personal choice” for Ahmed Hussain, chief executive of the MedHealth Medical Centre, who previously served as the chief executive of Environment Health and Safety, the compliance arm of Trakhees-Ports and the Customs & Free Zone Corporation.
A further motivation was a 2007 green building directive by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.
Construction of the building started in 2008. While Mr Hussain was not willing to reveal the cost, he said the facility’s green features increased the bill by about 30 per cent.
The Middle East Centre for Sustainable Development consulted on the building’s green features and obtaining the Leed accreditation.
The hospital has been in operation since the end of last year but was formally launched yesterday, in the presence of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, president of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and chairman of Dubai World, and other dignitaries.
There are 64 buildings that have achieved Leed certification. Most of the projects are in Dubai. Abu Dhabi has its own green building system, Estidama, which was developed by the Urban Planning Council.
Soon, Abu Dhabi will have a green hospital, the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, which has been designed to meet two-pearls requirements under the Estidama system. The highest number of pearls under Estidama is five.